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Was ‘Groundhog Day’ Talking About All Of Us? A Glance Into The Most Famous Time Loop In Cinematic History

A Glance Into The Most Famous Time Loop In Cinematic History

What does “Groundhog Day” mean to you? If the phrase automatically leads you to think about the same day repeating itself over and over again, it is thanks to the 1993 movie of the same name, which is one of the most influential comedies of recent decades.

The film’s title comes from a real life annual tradition, celebrated in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on February 2. Groundhog Day is the day when, according to a Pennsylvania Dutch superstition, a groundhog known as Punxsutawney Phil predicts how long the winter will continue, based on whether or not he sees his shadow when he emerges from his burrow in the morning.

The movie follows the misadventures of surly meteorologist Phil (Bill Murray), who has been sent to broadcast from the Pennsylvania town on the eponymous Groundhog Day. However, after he finishes recording his segment, he is forced to spend the night in the town due to bad weather. To his horror, when he wakes up, it is February 2 again, and nobody has noticed except him. The same happens the next day, and the next, and the next. And so on indefinitely.

Directed by Harold Ramis, Groundhog Day became an instant classic and spawned an ever-increasing number of films in the same narrative mold, such as Edge of Tomorrow (2014), Happy Death Day (2017), and Palm Springs (2020). It also became an inexhaustible source of analysis, theories, and all kinds of literature.

One such study is the recently published Prisioneros del bucle (Prisoners of the loop), a Spanish-language essay in which journalists and film critics Santiago Alonso and Isabel Sánchez delve into the key elements that made Groundhog Day a cultural phenomenon. “It’s sobering to think that a film from only 30 years ago has given rise to so many others that copy it or are based on it. There was something to research,” Alonso tells EL PAÍS. For the co-author, the reasons for the study’s validity are clear: “It is due to the philosophical depth of its topic. Any viewer can identify and become hooked on its existentialist perspective. And, above all, the idea behind the plot is great.”

In one of the scenes in the film, Phil shares his affliction with the patrons of a bowling alley and, after asking them what they would do if their life was stuck in a place where every day is the same and nothing you do matters, one responds: “That’s the story of my life.”

“In middle age, we often get bored with our own lives, it seems like we are repeating the same day over and over again,” Isabel Sánchez reflects. The writer admits that what interested her most about the comedy is its nature as a fantastical love story that develops over time, which puts it in the orbit of classic films such as A Matter of Life or Death (1946), The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947), and Portrait of Jennie (1948). After all, the role of Rita, the producer played by Andie MacDowell, is essential for Phil’s transformation.

“When Rita tells him what her perfect man would be like, she unknowingly becomes his guide and draws him a map,” the journalist explains. “It makes him realize that he is an asshole but he can take a path to become better, to see that life can be something else, and to learn to enjoy it as part of a community.”

Bill Murray y Andie MacDowell
Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell in a scene from ‘Groundhog Day.’ Archive Photos (Getty Images)
Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, and Chris Elliott in 'Groundhog Day.'
Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, and Chris Elliott in ‘Groundhog Day.’ / Cordon Press

Prisioneros del bucle is made up of a first part that tells the story of the production of the film, a second based around the literary and cinematographic background and its philosophical interpretations, and a third where the two authors dialogue about other movies involving time loops.

Jon Mikel Caballero, director of the Spanish movie The Incredible Shrinking Wknd (2019), features in the book with a final interview, as does the screenwriter of Groundhog Day, Danny Rubin. The Californian playwright says that the idea for the story came to him from the novel The Vampire Lestat (1985), by Anne Rice. “The universe Rice had created included people who were exactly like us, except in a few things. One of them was that they were always the same age and lived forever. That’s what I started thinking about that day,” Rubin clarifies in the book.

The film was a huge box office success in 1993 but also marked the end of the friendship and collaboration between Ramis and Murray. Both had worked together on Meatballs (1979), Caddyshack (1980), and Ghostbusters (1984), movies that are considered to have contributed to transforming the codes of American comedy of their time.

However, Murray’s stress over his divorce during the filming of Groundhog Day and the creative differences between the two (apparently Murray, who was looking for a career change, advocated a more tragic original version of Rubin’s script, while Ramis turned it into a romantic comedy) created an extremely tense atmosphere. According to the book How to be Bill Murray (Gavin Edwards, 2016), the actor stopped speaking to Ramis and hired a deaf-mute interpreter to mediate between them using sign language. They did not speak again until Murray decided to visit the terminally ill filmmaker shortly before his death in 2014.

Día de la marmota
Original poster for ‘Groundhog Day.’ / Cordon Press

“It was always said that, of the two, Bill Murray was the one who threw the map out the window and Harold Ramis was the one who looked for a way to get home,” says Sánchez. “That’s why they worked so well as a duo, one was chaos and the other was order.”

For Alonso, “it is not worth it” to think about what the film would have been like if that more dramatic vision that the screenwriter and Murray initially advocated had been imposed: “What matters is what it was. If one of the parts of the whole had been different or was made differently, perhaps we would not be talking about the same film.” Sanchez also vindicates Ramis and his sense of lightness: “He achieved a very difficult balance between comedy, romance, and thematic depth. Curiously, despite how light it appears to be, it has given philosophers, psychologists, and all kinds of theorists much more to talk about than other more pretentious films.”

The groundhog is Jesus Christ

Since the premiere of Groundhog Day, many fans have tried to determine how many years Murray’s character spends living on February 2. Although the film only shows 38 different days, the information that the protagonist gives about everything he has done, together with the time it would take him to learn to sculpt ice, speak French, or play the piano at the level he demonstrates, recently led journalist Simon Gallagher to place his estimate at 33 years and 350 days.

Others have taken deep dives into its alleged religious subtext. Danny Rubin received letters from monks or Kabbalah researchers who thought the screenwriter was one of them. There are also those who have seen in the transformation of the character a reflection of the path of perfection of Saint Teresa of Ávila, based on the idea of progress from the contemplative life. And then there is the critic and university professor Michael Bronski, who in 2004 argued: “The groundhog is clearly the risen Christ, the ever-hopeful renewal of life in spring. And when I say that the groundhog is Jesus, I say it with great respect.”

El día de la marmota'
Billboard advertising ‘Groundhog Day’ to celebrate the real life Groundhog Day in Las Vegas on February 2, 2021. Ethan Miller (Getty Images)

Rabbi Niles Goldstein commented on the ending, when the protagonist is allowed to live outside the loop once he has become the best version of himself: “The film tells us, as Judaism does, that the work is not finished until the world has been made perfect.” In Prisioneros del bucle, Alonso and Sánchez go back to other works that have dealt with the theme of time, self-improvement, and the existential trap.

One reference that stands out is the mythical tale of Sisyphus, the character from Greek mythology condemned by the gods to push a large stone up a mountain, which would roll back down just before reaching the top, forcing him to repeat the process for eternity. As the book states, in The Myth of Sisyphus (1942) the philosopher Albert Camus invited us to imagine that the condemned man was happy, because, despite the fact that “the gods thought, with some reason, that there is no punishment more terrible than useless and hopeless work”, Sisyphus still experienced freedom every hour he descended the mountain again.

“The film reflects a model of change that consists of letting oneself accept the repetition,” explains Alonso. “Many people are afraid of repetition because of the feeling of not moving and always doing the same thing over and again, but if you manage to change something in yourself and ride the loop, your perspective changes.”

Sánchez equates the film’s outline with the theory of grief: “According to Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, grief is structured in five phases: denial, anger, negotiation, depression, and acceptance. “They are the steps that the character takes psychologically. Phil is someone with Peter Pan syndrome, who never thinks about anyone, and does whatever he wants, and he progressively acquires a new perspective.”

Danny Rubin y Bill Murray
Danny Rubin, the screenwriter for ‘Groundhog Day’ and Bill Murray pose for a photograph in New York in 2017. Bruce Glikas

The evocative influence of Groundhog Day goes further. In 2016, director Cynthia Kao made the short Groundhog Day for a Black Man, a critique of police racism. It tells the story of a Black man who, no matter what he does, is trapped in a loop and always ends up being murdered by a police officer.

It is a premise that was also taken by the Oscar-winning medium-length film Two Distant Strangers (2020). Not to mention other films also devoted to exploring how a decision made on one day can alter an entire existence, a theme that ranges from Edgar Neville’s Spanish classic La vida en un hilo (1945), through Mr. Nobody (2009), until the recent premiere on Netflix last February of the series One Day, an adaptation of the book of the same name by David Nicholls, which shows what it is like every July 15 throughout the life of Emma and Dexter, who meet at their graduation and spend a night together but whose lives take different paths from the morning after.

“I really like stories that take place in a single day, with or without a loop. Also in literature, such as Mrs Dalloway [1925], by Virginia Woolf. It is a way to concentrate an entire life and an entire person on how they live a day,” says Isabel Sánchez. “You can’t see what your life would be like every time you choose to do one thing or another, but art does open those possibilities to you. That cliché phrase ‘live each day as if it were your last’ has a ring of truth because, by chance or by design, any day can change your life.” By the way, the groundhog Punxsutawney Phil has predicted that spring will come early this year.


Culture

Assessing Property Size: What Square Footage Can You Get With The Average UK House Price In Your Area?

Assessing Property Size In The UK

In the United Kingdom, there is a prevailing tendency to gauge the size of residences based on the number of bedrooms rather than square footage. In fact, research indicates that three out of five individuals are unaware of the square footage of their property.

However, a comprehensive analysis conducted by Savills reveals significant variations in property sizes throughout the country. For instance, with the average property price standing at £340,837, this amount would typically afford a studio flat spanning 551 square feet in London, according to the prominent estate agency.

Conversely, in the North East region, the same sum would secure a spacious five-bedroom house measuring 1,955 square feet, nearly four times the size of a comparable property in London.

Best value: Heading to the North East of England is where buyers will get the most from their money

In Scotland, the median house price equates to a sizable investment capable of procuring a generous four-bedroom residence spanning 1,743 square feet. Conversely, in Wales, Yorkshire & The Humber, and the North West, this sum affords a slightly smaller four-bedroom dwelling of approximately 1,500 square feet, while in the East and West Midlands, it accommodates a 1,300 square foot home. In stark contrast, within the South West, £340,837 secures a modest 1,000 square foot property, and in the East, an even more confined 928 square feet.

London presents the most challenging market, where this budget offers the least purchasing power. Following closely, the South East allows for 825 square feet of space or a medium-sized two-bedroom dwelling. Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, emphasizes the profound disparity in purchasing potential across Britain, ranging from compact studio flats in London to spacious four or five-bedroom residences in parts of North East England.

While square footage serves as a critical metric, with a significant portion of Britons unfamiliar with their property’s dimensions, the number of bedrooms remains a traditional indicator of size. Personal preferences, such as a preference for larger kitchens, may influence property selection. For those prioritizing ample space, Easington, County Durham, offers a substantial 2,858 square foot, five-bedroom home, while Rhondda, Wales, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scotland, provide 2,625 and 2,551 square feet, respectively. Conversely, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, £340,837 secures a mere 547 square feet, equivalent to a one-bedroom flat.

The disparity continues in central London, where purchasing power diminishes considerably. In Kensington, the budget accommodates a mere 220 square feet, contrasting with the slightly more spacious 236 square feet in Westminster. Conversely, in Dagenham, the same investment translates to 770 square feet. Three properties currently listed on Rightmove exemplify the diversity within this price range across the UK market.

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

2. Lewisham: One-bed house, £345,000

This one-bedroom property in Lewisham, South London, is on the market for £345,000.

The semi-detached house is set over two floors, and has a private patio.

The property is located near to bus links and amenities, as well as Catford train station.

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

3. Edinburgh: Three-bed house, £350,000

This three-bedroom detached house in Edinburgh could be yours for £350,000.

The house, which has a two-car driveway, boasts a large kitchen diner, and is within easy reach of Newcriaghall train station.


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Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.


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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.


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